Montane conifer forests of the Northeast support a distinctive bird assemblage and are threatened by airborne pollutants and human-related development. The small size and isolation of mountaintops impose constraints on organisms, including biologists.
We initiated ecological and demographic studies of Bicknell's Thrush and other montane forest birds over 20 years ago in order to assess the conservation status of this avian community. Our findings have been applied throughout the Northeast in the management of state and national forests, alpine ski areas, timberland management, and ridgeline development projects.
“…only a freak ornithologist would think of leaving the trails [on Mt. Mansfield] for more than a few feet. The discouragingly dense tangles in which Bicknell’s Thrushes dwell have kept their habits long wrapped in mystery.” (Dr. George Wallace 1939)
VCE has long overcome the practical difficulties of high-elevation field research with the help of collaborators, volunteers, and our own determination to unravel the mysteries of mountain ecology.